Saturday, February 25, 2017 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers
Red Sox 8, Twins 7
Saturday brought the third game of the spring calendar, and the first where the team was wearing their home white uniforms. Again we arrived in the morning before the gates opened and went around back to see what was going on. It was the usual drills – outfield practice, PFP and sprints for the pitchers, and batting practice. Mostly we saw the same players we had watched over the past couple of days, and we added an autograph from Rusney Castillo.
This game got off to a much better start than yesterday’s. Roenis Elias retired the Twins in order in the first and then the Red Sox jumped out to an early lead. Dustin Pedroia, in his first game of the spring, led off with a double, Mookie Betts singled, and then Hanley Ramirez doubled in one run and Mitch Moreland drove in another. One inning in, and it had already become my favorite game of the year!
Elias gave up a solo homer in the second, but everything was fine until Tyler Thornburg was charged with five runs while only getting two outs in the third. Matt Barnes had to come in to finish Thornburg’s inning and stayed to complete one of his own, but he gave up another homer in the process, and the Sox found themselves down 7-2.
Luckily the Red Sox were able to chip away at the deficit. They scored three runs in the fourth on doubles by Chris Young and Christian Vazquez (and with the assistance of an error by the Twins). They added another run in the fifth on Pablo Sandoval’s single.
Finally, in the sixth, the Red Sox tied the game on a double by first base prospect Sam Travis.
The game was slow-paced (despite not having any intentional walks, if you can believe that) but it was worth it in the eighth when Deven Marrero led off with a double. Later in the inning, Brian Bogusevic hit an RBI single to drive him in and give the Sox an 8-7 lead.
Non-roster invitee Austin Maddox got quickly through the ninth to nail down the save, and just like that it was back to being my favorite game of the year again!